The American Museum of Natural History Is Celebrating Halloween This Year With Virtual Events

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The American Museum of Natural History is channeling its best creepy-crawlers and animals that go bump in the night for a spooky -— and family friendly — slate of virtual Halloween experiences this year.

As part of the holiday lineup, the museum will host a series of Facebook live events, focusing on everything from insects like scorpions, spiders, and roaches, to bats and skeletons (fossilized ones, of course), the museum shared with Travel + Leisure. And creativity will be rewarded as the museum hosts a virtual costume contest.

The Museum of Natural History kicked off the programing on Oct. 22 with an entomologist sharing fun facts about arthropods. On Oct. 27, curators will extoll the history of bat evolution and ecology, virtually transporting viewers on “expeditions” to Belize and Cuba.

That will be followed two days later by a paleontologist’s lesson on all things “rattling fossil bones.” And on Nov. 1, the museum will celebrate Day of the Dead in both English and Spanish, honoring extinct animal species like the monk seal and the golden toad.

To make the month even more festive, the Museum of Natural History is hosting a virtual costume contest, asking people — and even pets — to take a picture of their best natural history-themed getups and tag @amnh on Twitter or Instagram by Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. EST. The winner will receive four tickets to the museum.

"Although we aren’t holding on-site celebrations for Halloween and Day of the Dead as has become a tradition for the Museum in years past, we’re aiming to bring some of the spirit of these holidays to our online programming,” Alonso Dominguez Sanchez Teruel, the assistant director of public programs at the museum, told T+L. 

The American Museum of Natural History, which sits along Central Park West in New York City, was allowed to reopen with restrictions in late August. To visit, people are required to make ticket reservations in advance and wear a mask. The museum has also started conducting temperature checks, installed plexiglass barriers at ticket counters, and upgraded the ventilation systems. 

The museum isn’t alone in planning perfectly frightening Halloween experiences at home (and we’re not just talking about whipping up scarily strong cocktails). Visit an online haunted house — with the lights off if you’re brave enough — or go virtual trick-or-treating and decorate a virtual door for the season.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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